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Ego and the Highest Happiness

  1. Nov 7, 2004 #1
    Ego can be said to ‘exist’ when a person perceives his mind to be independent and free from the influence of the cosmic energy. In other words, ego can be said to exist when a person considers his mind as the only existence in the universe. Ego prevailing in the human mind can be compared to a shell.The shape of the shell does not permit any energy exchange to and from the surroundings. The cosmic energy finds it tough to flow into the mind ‘system’ due to the presence of ‘ego’ shell.

    Mind with ego can also be compared to current flow in a wire. The cosmic energy-current analogies are given below:

    Cosmic energy flow <=> Current flow
    Ego <=> Resistance

    When the resistance is more, energy flow is less. In the same way, when ego is more, cosmic energy flow into the mind is less. Thus to allow more cosmic energy flow through our mind, we should get rid of ego from our being. If there is a flow of positive universal energy to the ‘mind’ system, tranquility and harmony enter into the system. This peace that has been attained can be called by various names such as ‘Highest happiness’ or ‘divine ecstasy’ or ‘divine bliss’.

    Please give your valuable comments on the idea that i have put forward
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2004 #2
    Ego-centricism is a peril of our society. Although you should not ignore the other perils which haunt our society.

    Society is all about cause and effect, microcosm to macrocosm. Once the microcosms become flawed, the macrocosm suffers.

    Thus, once ego-centricism occurs, society begins to crumble.
  4. Nov 7, 2004 #3


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    Egocentrism, modified by acculturation, has been a fixture of human life as long as we have records and stories, and presumably since we evolved. It has been just a much a feature of the rise of civilizations as of their fall. Think of the heroes of old - Alexander, Archimedes, Leonardo, Mozart, to name just a few that tend to span our culture - you can easily name others.
  5. Nov 7, 2004 #4

    Point taken.

    Ego-centricism then, is a peril, juxtaposed by its own beneficial nature.
  6. Nov 8, 2004 #5
    dekoi rightly said "Once the microcosms become flawed, the macrocosm suffers." So ego centricism is a parasite which I feel should be got rid of from this world.

    I differ with selfadjoint in that I feel any form of ego centricism is to be considered a peril unless it is beneficial to mankind as a whole.

    can you tell me about any form of ego centricism which has truly benefitted mankind.
  7. Nov 8, 2004 #6


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    I gave you several examples. Do you think the great artists and scientists are humbly working with only thought of others? They are working for their own satisfaction; if the product also serves or pleases others, well and good. But if not, that's just too bad. Rather than change their explorations to something that would satisfy the mass, they continue on their lonely self generated way. Without egocentrism we wouldn't have ever got out of the caves.
  8. Nov 8, 2004 #7
    Appreciate the agreement, although you failed to read my second post (adjoint mentioned)
  9. Nov 8, 2004 #8

    Les Sleeth

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    Personally I don't think anything is ever benefitted one iota from egocentrism . . . not the individual experiencing it, not society, not the arts, not science . . . What happens is that people succeed in spite of it, not because of it. Mozart made the expression of his genius more difficult, and probably less manifest, because he was so self-absorbed.

    But raging geniuses, even if they manage a valuable contribution, are not the rule of what happens. Saying so is like pointing to the one in 100,000 ghetto kid who is motivated to get out and become a world-class something or other as the "rule" about how poverty can benefit kids. But the 99,999 that couldn't get past the gangs, the drugs, the violence, the spirit-deadening poverty are a far more realistic representation about the motiving power of nasty ghettos.

    When an individual is consumed with little more than his own desires and opinions, he is at least a jerk, and may be anything from a greedy pig or aggressive driver to mass murderer or tyrant. Sometimes they are just your next door neighbor who thinks his blasting stereo, four dogs barking all night, high-volume fights with his wife and kids are "your problem." (A clue about why I live in the country?)

    BIG ego, boy can we do without that! Life would be SOOOOO much better for everyone. :cool:
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2004
  10. Nov 8, 2004 #9
    My mind has been changed again. Woah, I'm really off today. :rolleyes:

    It seemed pretty akward to me to think that something bad (ego-centricism) could result in something good. The two seem to be contradictory. Although i suppose one could question why/if ego-centrism is bad in the first place. However, it becomes obvious that ego-centricism centers on the individual, instead of the populace, as the root of all knowledge and standards. It sets the standards at an individual level instead of a higher, possibly Divine, one. EGo centricism is selfish.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2004
  11. Nov 8, 2004 #10

    Les Sleeth

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    Another point that some have made is that enlightened self interest is a good thing, if in pursuing it others aren't intentionally or carelessly hurt (e.g., as in how losing in a competition for a job, girlfriend, scholarship etc. can hurt). Yet, because the focus is first one's own development, that could be interpreted as "self centered."

    The truth is, our self is and should be, our first concern. That's the basis of both personal development and accepting responsibility. But what we do to advance the self is the issue. The enlightened self interest idea is that if you do things that make you an inwardly better person, then both you and others will benefit as your character improves.
  12. Nov 8, 2004 #11
    You mentioned that the self should be our first concern for personal developement.

    What if one were to say that our first concern should be the greater population rather than the self, and the product of this "general concern" is our own personal fulfillment or benefit.

    Similarly, one could also say (as you did) that proper personal concern will in turn, benefit the general populace.

    Which one? :confused:
  13. Nov 8, 2004 #12
    This is not a standard American English word.

    This is a standard American English word if the hyphen is left out.

    This is not a standard American English word.
  14. Nov 9, 2004 #13

    Les Sleeth

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    When I said personal development should be the first priority, I meant that we alone are responsible for what we do, for taking care of ourselves, and for achieving our own happiness. The people who've accepted that seem to be the people most involved in self actualization.

    But you pose a good question about self development versus helping others. I used to work for a business seminar firm, and a woman offered a course called "Dressing for Success." Her theory was that if a person dressed professionally, he/she would feel more professional. Part of my job was to evaluate our company's seminars. Before I went to evaluate hers, I was judgemental about it (I am ashamed to admit) because I thought her approach was superficial. But after the seminar was over and I saw how many people were inspired by it, I changed my mind. Sometimes practicing a behavior before one feels much about it inside seems to help one learn to open up some.

    So it seems both working on self improvement and trying to help others can be good. Yet both also can be a problem too. A problem I see sometimes are people trying to be do gooders, but who have serious self development issues. Some religious ministers come to mind. Or, here where I live there are lots of new age types, and some of them seem to do nothing but involve themselves in one little self-development trip after another without much apparent results.

    Personally I've put the most effort into self development, but maybe that's because I was so messed up to begin with. :tongue2: And then, when I found service to humanity made my life more rewarding (being the feel-good critter I am), then I got more into that as well. Of course I still like to party too! :smile:
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2004
  15. Nov 9, 2004 #14
    hitsquad: I am so sorry for not having spelling skills up to your standard. I thank you for correcting me, and contributing nothing else to the thread.

    Les Sleeth, thanks for clarifying. I fully understand your position.
  16. Nov 9, 2004 #15
    I might not use and have the exact definitions of many terms you've just used. (im a pretty young guy from a non-english speaking country)

    The ego-centrism as a whole has actually dazzled me since I read psychology at school.
    Well its just a simple theory that kind of leans towards how Ego we are, and build to be.
    First off, we are only able to understand and interpret any information given to us from out of our own point of perspective. What I mean by this is simply that you can never really feel, see, touch etc anything from another persons perspective.

    example: Your friend tells you how sorry he is about something that has happened. The fact that he describes the feeling very well you still can't feel the exact same way. BUT what you can do is simply scroll through your "memory" and pick a situation similar that YOU have experienced and compare.

    So it brings me to say that every individual has his/her own World to live in.
    Just like a young baby that thinks that he/she IS the world.
    Well as we grow we get aware of the surroundings and that others have the same "skill" that we possess. So we adapt to it, and morality and ethics come to play the very big role in our lives.

    So to the real point.. An act of generosity, is it generous or is it formed to receive good feedback to fill up the ego?
    Do we live by the morals and ethics stated by society to benefit IT or ourselves?
    Do I offer myself to go to my boring girlfriends parents for my sake or hers?
    In the end i think we are more ego than we are willing to admit to ourselves.
    In our own minds we are all alone in this world.

    Allright im very tired and off to sleep, If what I wrote doesnt make sense or sound to dark or dramatical i want to make sure that i dont live by this theory, or maybe i subcounciously do? :eek:

    And by the way, I really like the discussion made on the ego topic by you guys, very good points! even thou im to tired to qoute them out and give credit :)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2004
  17. Nov 9, 2004 #16

    Les Sleeth

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    I think you have to distinguish between how most of us are, and what a human has the potential to be. Maybe most people do things for praise, status, ego gratification, or for selfish personal gain. But one doesn't have to be like that.

    What makes someone turn away from selfishness is when they do something unselfish and find out it feels good, and even better than being selfish. We are HUGE feel-good creatures. Some psychologists have argued that everything we do is in pursuit of feeling good.

    Unfortunately, the issue of what feels good isn't obvious. You can make yourself feel good by injecting speed . . . except at some time in the future, you will look like a skeleton, have few teeth or much money, be paranoid and maybe even totally delusional. So some things feel good up front but have a nasty backside.

    There are people who say that wisdom is knowing what feels good in the long term. It doesn't mean the pursuit of short-term pleasure is bad; it just means not to link one's ultimate feel-goodness to it.

    Then there's the question of how to stay on track through all the opportunities life offers to get off track. Another bit of wisdom, which on the surface might seem simplistic, is that sincerity is a trustworthy companion for the journey. How would that work with your question "An act of generosity, is it generous or is it formed to receive good feedback to fill up the ego?"? Well, just be sincerely generous if you are going to do that, and enjoy the good feeling it gives you. A truly sincere person usually wins the admiration and trust of others naturally, so the ego thing becomes a non-issue. :smile:
  18. Nov 9, 2004 #17
    well i agree on you at all points and didnt in anyway paint my lifecycle with my post.

    You even reminded me on the short-term "good-feels" that I very easily can fall in.
    I don't know if i should thank you for that or flame you :)

    But then again in my terms of ego in my post i actually considered fealing good as a pump for ones ego aswell. That the feedback/reward of a generous action that turns into a good fealing also is to fill ego with, hence making the generous act ego-centric.
    Hmm I'm leaving this where it is, because it leads nowhere longer now.
    All sense and reason regarding my post was more or less covered by you.
    so as you said "the ego thing becomes a non-issue"

    As a last thing i just want to give you some credit to fill your ego with, so that the time spent on writing back at my post wasnt a waste of time :rofl:
  19. Nov 9, 2004 #18

    Les Sleeth

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    Okay, good point. If you go so far as to acknowledge sincerity is a good reason to do something, then you might consider how to handle what comes back to a person after they do that. You have suggested one can allow recognition to "pump" the ego, and you are correct. So here is yet another wisdom principle some have suggested . . . humility.

    Humility is definitely a long-term thing, because it is enticing to let praise and appreciation be sucked up by the insatiable ego, and then to get addicted to having the ego inflated. But guess where all your good feeling ends up if you can't keep the ego away from it. Ego grows, but your real self gets darker and darker. Look at the most insecure people, and many of them are that way because they are so worried about their "image."

    Sincerity, humility, and other such qualities are often seen as morals, or the pious practices of religion, or what a good person "should" be like. But I think they are practical[/i], in that they are avenues to lasting happiness. Personally I dislike being "good" for moral reasons :devil, but if it makes me feel or function better as a human being . . . give it to me! o:)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2004
  20. Nov 13, 2004 #19
    Lets look at the extreme case.
    If people were completly nonegocentric and people did only things for each other(and recived no pleasure in doing this, for that would not be completly nonegocentric) and nobody did anything for themselves and their own ego i think life would miserable. You would have no control over your life and couldn't do anything to make yourself happy and would have to depend on others for happyness and just about everthing else.

    I think egocentrism is a good thing. Being genorus and doing deeds for others is ultimitly a disservice to them and yourself. People should take responsibilty for their actions and relize they have the power to change things and that they should not wait for someone to help them but that they need to help themselves. The ego should be praised not condemed.(Read some Ayn Rand)
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